TORONTO — Jason Spezza will once again be sporting blue and white next season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Wednesday the 38-year-old forward has re-signed with his hometown team at the league minimum US$750,000 for the 2021-22 campaign.
Spezza registered 10 goals and 20 assists in 54 contests for Toronto during the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season before adding five points in the Leafs' stunning first-round playoff loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Selected second overall by the Ottawa Senators at the 2001 NHL draft, Spezza has put up 970 points (351 goals, 619 assists) in 1,177 regular-season games to go along with 75 points (28 goals, 47 assists) in 92 playoff outings.
The two-time all-star will be suiting up for the Leafs at the league minimum for a third straight season. According to the website capfriendly.com, Spezza has earned more than $89 million in his career.
The Leafs need bargain contracts in their bottom-6 forward group with nearly half the team's wage bill — the NHL salary cap will sit at $81.5 million for the foreseeable future because of the COVID-19 pandemic — earmarked for Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.
Toronto, which has not won a playoff series since 2004 and the Stanley Cup since 1967, led Montreal 3-1 in the first round of this year's post-season before the underdog Canadiens won three straight to advance in the North Division.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2021